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chopine HAMLET, ii. 2. 422. An enormously high clog, which was worn by the ladies of Spain, Italy, etc. (In Connelly's Span. and Engl. Dict. Madrid, 4to, I find “Chapin . . . A sort of patten with a cork sole,” etc.; but none of the Italian Dictionaries in my possession contain the word “cioppino,” which, according to Boswell, is in Veneroni's Dict.) The following account ofchopines, or, as he calls them, chapineys, is given by Coryat: “There is one thing vsed of the Venetian women, and some others dwelling in the cities and towns subiect to the Signiory of Venice, that is not to be obserued (I thinke) amongst any other women in Christendome: which is so common in Venice, that no woman whatsoeuer goeth without it, either in her house or abroad; a thing made of wood, and couered with leather of sundry colors, some with white, some redde, some yellow. It is called a Chapiney, which they weare vnder their shoes. Many of them are curiously painted; some also I haue seene fairely gilt: so vncomely a thing (in my opinion) that it is pitty this foolish custom is not cleane banished and exterminated out of the citie. There are many of these Chapineys of a great heigth, euen half a yard high, which maketh many of their women that are very short seeme much taller than the tallest women we haue in England. Also I haue heard that this is obserued amongst them, that by how much the nobler a woman is, by so much the higher are her Chapineys. All their gentlewomen, and most of their wiues and widowes that are of any wealth, are assisted and supported eyther by men or women when they walke abroad, to the end they may not fall. They are borne vp most commonly by the left arme, otherwise they might quickly take a fall. For I saw a woman fall a very dangerous fall, as she was going down the staires of one of the little stony bridges with her high Chapineys alone by herselfe: but I did nothing pitty her, because shee wore such friuolous and (as I may truely terme them) ridiculous instruments, which were the occasion of her fall. For both I myselfe, and many other strangers (as I haue obserued in Venice) haue often laughed at them for their vaine Chapineys.” Crudities, (reprinted from ed. 1611), vol. ii. p. 36. “The choppine or some kind of high shoe was occasionally used in England. Bulwer in his Artificial Changeling, p. 550, complains of this fashion as a monstrous affectation, and says that his countrywomen therein imitated the Venetian and Persian ladies, etc. ” (DOUCE) .

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    • William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, 2.2
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